What’s the deal with Nike’s Vaporfly 4%?

Is the shoe being offered today different than the shoe that was announced in April ?

Nike’s Zoom Vaporfly 4%, released last spring on the trail of the Breaking2 project is a shoe that has created a lot of interest and some controversy online.

Some of the main themes are:

  • the $250 price tag
  • the ridicolously limited availability, making the few pairs that appear online disappear immediately
  • the 4% performance improvement claim, which has recently been shown to be true by a research (independent, but funded by Nike)

But there is now another thing that one of our readers noticed. Read the description of the Vaporfly 4% as appears today (December 7th) on Nike’s website:

Since the Vaporfly is out of stock, Nike suggests to check out the Zoom Fly, which has the same carbon-infused nylon plate.

Hmmm….. that’s not how the shoe was launched:

The shoe as it was launched, and as we tested earlier this year, has a full length carbon plate, which is a significantly more expensive material to produce and should have completely different characteristics and behaviour.

This picture, also courtesy of Nike, illustrates how the sole of the Vaporfly 4% should be:

Nike 4 Percent

No doubt there: a full-length super-stiff curved carbon plate – which is NOT like the one in the Zoom Fly.

We don’t know what the story is here: is it simply poor writing on Nike’s website? Maybe they mean that the Zoom Fly has a similar concept plate in its midsole even though they are made of different materials, or has the newer production version of the Vaporfly changed its plate and it’s now a nylon one instead of a full carbon one?

If you have more information, or if somebody from Nike wants to chime in and clarify we’ll be happy to share with you what the situation is.

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